Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Maybe you want a home with amenities that make everyday living more enjoyable? Or perhaps you want enough space for a growing family or house guests.
No matter what your reasoning, the home buying journey all starts with the hunt. Here’s our guide to hunting for the right new home for you and your family.
Determine Your Budget and Understand the Financing
One of the most daunting issues associated with buying a home is the budget and financing. Some things to make sure you understand before proceeding with financing include:
- Knowing your borrowing power and credit score
- Creating a budget so you know what you can afford monthly
- Deciding whether you need a 30 year or 15 year mortgage
- Knowing what the interest rates are and trying to get the best rate
- Understanding the terms of the loan completely
Don’t let all that intimidate you. That’s why there are realtors available who can explain the home buying process and answer any questions you have. One of the first things you will want to do is find an agent that you mesh well with, who can answer all your questions and put you at ease.
Now, you need to determine your budget. Look at your current expenses – everything from groceries and gym memberships, to car and student loan payments. With those expenses in mind, how much can you comfortably afford to spend each month on a mortgage payment?
One rule of thumb in the real estate industry is to look at homes that are about two to three times your annual income. If you’re still unsure what you can afford, ask your real estate agent to recommend a financial professional who can help you.
Next, look at how much money you have available for a down payment and closing costs. Most of the time, a lender will recommend putting down at least 10% of the home’s price, plus about 3% for closing costs.
Finally, ensure that, when all is said and done, you will still have some money saved up for inevitable moving costs and home repairs. All of these things will help you fully understand your home buying budget.
Once your budget has been set, it’s time to decide what mortgage is right for you, and get pre-approved. Your real estate agent will be able to recommend lenders who will take excellent care of you, and walk you through everything!
Understand Your Reason for Buying a New Home
This is a basic, but a very important question that can help you outline the criteria for your new home. There are many reasons why people want to buy a new home. Knowing the reasons and outlining the purpose of the upgrade is a great place to start.
- Is your family growing?
- Do you need to move to a better community?
- Do you want to be in a better school district?
- Are you looking for a faster commute to work?
- Is it time to downsize?
- Maybe you’re ready to sell your starter home and upgrade to a nicer home?
Answering these questions is going to help you determine the following:
- What type of home you want to buy or build
- The size of the home and the number of rooms you want in it
- The location of the home and the communities that are suitable to you
- What amenities must be nearby
Are you planning to buy a new home because your family has outgrown your old one? Then it may be best to search for a two-story home with more bedrooms and living space. If you have grown children and need to downsize from your current home, then you may want a cozy single-story home that’s close to town for shopping and errands. If you’ve outgrown your starter home, you may be looking for a larger home that has a more modern layout and features.
Talk with your real estate agent about your frustrations with your current home. Your realtor will help you pinpoint what kind of home is going to make you happy in the future, so you can start your home buying journey out on the right foot.
One good thing to keep in mind, though…your real estate agent will push you to keep your options open, and might recommend looking at a few homes that don’t fully meet your criteria. Don’t be too scared to view houses that are outside of the community you want to be in, or are a little smaller than your ideal size. You might just be surprised!
Take it to a Street Level
You might know what community or area you want to live in, but when picking a location, you need to think down to a street level. Ask yourself:
- What kind of neighborhood is right for you?
- Do you want to be close to neighbors?
- Will you want street parking?
- Do you prefer a gated community?
Knowing these things ahead of time will help you make keen observations when it’s finally time to see houses. Those observations will come in handy when it’s time to make decisions!
Decide How Much Work You Want to Do
Every homebuyer is different. Some are willing to take on a fixer-upper, while others want a move in ready home with minimal maintenance. Where do you stand?
You should have an idea of how much work you’re ready and willing to take on when you buy a home. Are you prepared to paint walls and rip up carpet? Do you have the funds to hire a contractor to knock out walls to achieve your open floor plan dreams? This is a very important consideration.
Finally, you have the full picture of what you’re looking for in a new home. Convey all of your wants and needs to your real estate agent. He or she will present you with listings that might interest you. Your real estate agent will also coordinate to get you into the homes you want to see in person.
This is the exciting part, but it’s important to pay attention to even the smallest of details while you’re in a potential new home. Take note of your observations and even use your cell phone to snap pictures.
When you fall in love with a home, your real estate agent will help you with the next steps to craft the perfect offer.
Ready to find the perfect home for you? The Jeffrey Costa Select Realty Team is full of experienced real estate agents that have helped hundreds of both first-time and experienced homebuyers. Our team takes pride in educating clients and helping them make the right choices, every step of the way.
If you’re considering buying a home and want to get top-of-the-line customer service, get in touch with Jeffrey Costa Select Realty and get paired with an agent today.